Adam Martin writes for MMAOddsbreaker.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMAdamMartin.
UFC Fight Night 32: Vitor Belfort (-235) vs. Dan Henderson (+195)
The main event of UFC Fight Night 32 is an incredible light heavyweight match-up between legends Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson.
Despite Belfort’s recent impressive performances and Henderson looking very average as of late, there hasn’t been a ton of action going Belfort’s way and I can totally understand it as Henderson is an extremely tough out and he definitely has a chance of pulling off the upset.
When the fight was first announced, I circled Belfort down on my calendar as a future bet to make, especially since he has been sitting in the low -220s at the sportsbooks for the last few months. After all, Belfort has been a money train so far in 2013, taking out Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold in highlight reel fashion at Pick ‘em prices in both fights.
Obviously he’s a bit of a higher favorite here coming off of those two dominating victories, but I was still liking Belfort a lot for a bet up until this week at -200. But for whatever reason I am now really feeling like this fight with Henderson is much more dangerous than I first thought and I am going to pass on a bet on Belfort on the moneyline.
The thing is, even though Belfort should be too fast for Henderson and should be able to rock Hendo with strikes, Henderson has arguably the greatest chin in the history of the sport (he has never been knocked out in MMA) and if Belfort can’t finish him off with his early flurry, he could be in trouble as the fight goes into the later rounds.
Remember, this isn’t a three-round event, it’s five rounds. Even though Henderson doesn’t have the best cardio in the world, Belfort’s is actually worse and if he can’t get the finish in the first two rounds I don’t know if he’ll be able to finish the job. In fact, I believe that if Belfort can’t get the knockout in the first 10 minutes of the fight, he himself is going to be at great risk of being knocked out.
Obviously Henderson has one of the most powerful right hands in the sport, and even though he hasn’t been able to knock anyone out in his return to the UFC, consider he badly hurt Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and rocked Rashad Evans in those fights, and those are two of the top guys in the division. In the case of Rua, that’s a testament to the Brazilian’s chin that he was able to survive all five rounds with Henderson, while in the fight with Evans it was more about Henderson’s inability to pounce on Evans when he knocked him down with a jab (from his left hand actually) that cost him.
And remember, Henderson went to a razor-close decision with Lyoto Machida earlier this year, and even though Machida isn’t as aggressive as Belfort is, he is just as dangerous and Henderson was able to survive the full 15 minutes.
Although many are assuming Belfort will stand and bang with Henderson, I have a feeling that he may take the fight to the ground and try to use his underrated BJJ to get a submission win, perhaps via rear-naked choke (one of the ground moves Henderson has been unsuccessful at defending in the past). Because if he stands with Henderson, he may be at a disadvantage in a firefight since he will have the weaker chin of the two fighters.
I’m still going to pick Belfort here, but I’m going to pass on a bet at the current moneyline and instead bet a prop. In fact, I think the best bet one can make on this fight is “the fight does not go the distance” at -250. I just can’t see this fight lasting the full five rounds given both of these fighters’ gas tanks aren’t the greatest, and this prop offers great protection in case of a Henderson upset, so this is my play for tomorrow night’s main event.